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The IYSSE is holding screenings of a major online lecture delivered by
David North, the chairman of the international editorial board of the
World Socialist Web Site, entitled “Why study the Russian Revolution?”
The screening will be followed by a question period and a discussion.

North’s lecture was the first in a series being presented by the
International Committee of the Fourth International, the world
Trotskyist movement, to commemorate the centenary of the Russian
Revolution of 1917.

“The Russian Revolution was the most important, consequential and
progressive political event of the twentieth century,” North states at
the beginning of his lecture. “Despite the ultimately tragic fate of the
Soviet Union—which was destroyed by the betrayals and crimes of the
Stalinist bureaucracy—no other event in the past century had such a
far-reaching impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people on
every part of the planet.”

North’s lecture answers the question contained in the headline, and
reviews the monumental events of 1917, beginning with the February
Revolution which ousted the Tsarist dynasty that had ruled Russia for
over 300 years. Nine months later, the Russian working class, led by
Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party, overthrew the
capitalist provisional government and took power.

North explains that the October Revolution “marked a new stage in
history.” “The overthrow of the bourgeois Provisional Government proved
that an alternative to capitalism was not a utopian dream, but rather, a
real possibility that could be achieved through the conscious political
struggle of the working class.”

A century on, these events have acquired an intense contemporary
political relevance. The problems with which the Russian revolutionaries
grappled, North states, “not only persist, they are more acute than
ever. One hundred years after the Russian Revolution of 1917, capitalism
is spiraling toward disaster.”

The same international political issues which compelled the Russian
working class to carry out a revolution—war, political repression,
social inequality and poverty—are the central questions facing workers,
students and young people in every country. A study of the lessons of
the Russian Revolution is therefore critical to the building of a
revolutionary movement against capitalism today.

“For all that has changed,” North concluded, “the vast developments in
technology, the vast changes in many forms of social life, the political
language of our time is still the political language of 1917… For an
understanding of the present world, and to develop a strategy for
socialist revolution, there is no better foundation than the works of
Marx and Engels, and of Lenin and Trotsky.”